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Best Radiator for Jeep Review and Buyer’s Guide

If you’ve been wondering: can your Jeep’s engine run without a radiator, the answer is yes, it can. However, it will also overheat before long, and you’ll have to pay a mechanic to fix it. Therefore, a radiator is a necessary accessory, as it keeps the motor nice and chill. Essentially, a radiator is a cooling system: it sends Coolant (in a liquid form) through the various heads and blocks of the engine.

Choose Your Option!

Best Radiator for Jeep XJ
Best Replacement Radiator for Jeep JK
Best Radiator for Jeep Wrangler TJ
Best Radiator for Jeep Wrangler YJ

As it’s “oozing” through, it absorbs the heat generated by the engine. Then, the liquid (now heated), gets back into the radiator. The air that’s flowing through the radiator cools the liquid down: the process is then repeated. The best radiator for Jeep will keep the engine from overheating even in the hottest summer. In this post, we’ll take a look at the finest options for Jeep XJ, JK, TJ, and YJ.

Best Radiator for Jeep XJ (Updated October, 2020)

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Editor’s Choice

Mishimoto MMRAD-XJ-89 Performance Aluminum Radiator Fits Jeep Grand Cherokee XJ 1989-2001

1) Mishimoto MMRAD-XJ-89 Performance Aluminum Radiator

  • Best Features:
    – Made of high-quality aluminum
    – Effective (and fast) heat dissipation
    – Protected against metallic debris
  • Fits Models:
    – Jeep Cherokee XJ (1989-2001)

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Spectra Premium CU1193 Complete Radiator for Jeep

2) Spectra Premium CU1193 Complete Radiator

  • Best Features:
    – A highly affordable purchase
    – Easy to install: no modifications or DIY needed
    – Comes with a perfect fit guarantee
  • Fits Models:
    – Jeep Cherokee XJ (1991-2001)
    – Jeep Grand Cherokee/Grand Wagoneer (ZJ) (1993-1998)

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DNA Motoring Aluminum Racing Radiator

3) DNA Motoring Aluminum Racing Radiator

  • Best Features:
    – Three-row radiator; incredible cooling capacity
    – Offers great value
    – Bolt-on installation; slim design (easy to reach the engine bay)
  • Fits Models:
    – Jeep Cherokee XJ (1984-2001)

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Best Radiator for Jeep XJ (Updated October, 2020)

1. Mishimoto MMRAD-XJ-89 Performance Aluminum Radiator

Mishimoto MMRAD-XJ-89 Performance Aluminum Radiator Fits Jeep Grand Cherokee XJ 1989-2001

This company has been on the market for many years and mostly produces premium-level equipment and gear. The XJ-89 radiator is an excellent example of that. While the price-tag isn’t very affordable, it is fair, especially in the long run. With the Mishimoto radiator, you’ll get industry-leading cooling efficiency and incredible durability.

Made of high-quality aluminum, it easily handles the most “stressful” situations and keeps the engine cool. I want to also mention the magnetic drain plug that absorbs all the metallic debris from the cooling system. Last, but not least, Mishimoto backs the radiator with a lifetime warranty, and, in contrast to Spectra, this company’s customer support is fast, helpful, and effective.

Product Rating
Durability
5/ 5
Mileage
5/ 5
Value for Money
4.7/ 5
Result
4.9
Pros & Cons
Impressive cooling (heat dissipation) efficiency
Made of high-quality materials
Protected against rust, corrosion, and debris
A bit on the expensive side

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Andy Shane
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If you’re a big fan of off-roading and tend to push the engine to the limit, you might want to go with the XJ-89 radiator. Yes, it is expensive, and you’ll have to do some saving, but it will be money well spent. There’s nothing worse than ending up with an overheated engine in the middle of nowhere. With this radiator, that won’t be a problem, and it will serve you for decades.

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2. Spectra Premium CU1193 Complete Radiator

Spectra Premium CU1193 Complete Radiator for Jeep

Engineered to last – that’s what the Spectra team is saying about this radiator. It is, indeed, robust and durable and won’t break down in the middle of the road. The cooling efficiency is decent as well and will make sure to keep the engine and the transmission nice and “chilly”. I was also pleased by how easy it was to install CU1193: no extra tools were required. I didn’t even have to modify the radiator or the engine compartment in any way.

Now, the company backs it up with a perfect-fit guarantee. In theory, that means you can ship it back and they’ll send you a replacement. However, I was greatly disappointed by how Spectra handle things. I didn’t find a hotline or a real number to call on the official website. And when I did get in contact, the support agents asked me to send photos that prove the problem is on their side. Initially, I did get a new radiator, but the hassle was a bit too much.

Product Rating
Durability
4.9/ 5
Mileage
4.8/ 5
Value for Money
5/ 5
Result
4.9
Pros & Cons
A good pick if you’re on a tight budget
User-friendly, straightforward installation
Backed by a (perfect fit) guarantee
Poor customer service

Recommendations
Andy Shane
Andy Shane
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As a low-budget aftermarket radiator, CU1193 may be a decent pick. It’s not the most efficient or reliable radiator on the market, but it will be a good replacement for the stock gear. Too bad customer support isn’t at all user-oriented and you’ll have to spend a lot of time (and nerves) to get help. Other than that, Spectra did a good job.

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3. DNA Motoring Aluminum Racing Radiator

DNA 84-01 Jeep Cherokee Radiator Fan Shroud Kit, Pro Top 3 Row Core Aluminum Radiator

This biggest selling point of this product is the three-row radiator. Made of sturdy aluminum, it is easy to install and to replace (in case it doesn’t fit/stops working). Now, while the three-row system is, indeed, quite effective, don’t expect it to be on par with the more expensive one-row radiators. For some “regular driving”, 84-01 will be efficient and reliable. But, for off-roading under a burning sun, this cooling system might not be enough.

Product Rating
Durability
4.8 / 5
Mileage
4.9 / 5
Value for Money
4.8 / 5
Result
4.8
Pros & Cons
Decent value for the price
Easy to install thanks to the clever design
Three rows instead of one
None found

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Andy Shane
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Looking for a reasonably-priced three-row radiator? DNA might have a good offer for you. Efficiency, reliability, and ease of installation are well above average. However, you’ll have to invest in an electric harness for the fans to work. Overall, it’s a safe bet, but only if you’re not planning on doing any extreme driving.

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In many ways, this is the most important factor when shopping for a third-party radiator. That’s because the more effective it is at cooling the engine compartment, the longer it (the engine) will serve you. As mentioned, there are some three-radiator options on the market. Other brands achieve efficiency via a larger surface area. Coolant capacity also plays a key role in heat dissipation.

Best Replacement Radiator for Jeep JK (Updated October, 2020)

The following list includes three top-notch radiators from OSC, AUTOSAVER88, and Mishimoto. They’ll make sure to keep the engine cool and ready-steady at a reasonable price.

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Editor’s Choice

Mishimoto MMRAD-WRA-07V2 Aluminum Radiator Fits Jeep Wrangler JK 2007-2017 Silver

3) Mishimoto MMRAD-WRA-07V2 Aluminum Radiator

  • Best Features:
    – Premium-quality (100% brazed) aluminum core
    – Impressive pressure tolerance (thanks to extruded tubes)
    – Above-average coolant capacity
  • Fits Models:
    – Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-2017)

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OSC Cooling Products 2957 New Radiator

1) OSC Cooling Products 2957 New Radiator

  • Best Features:
    – Low-budget, yet effective
    – Includes installation hardware
    – Alcoa-aluminum body; cadmium-plated tubes
  • Fits Models:
    – Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-2018)

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Radiator Compatible with 2012-2017 Jeep Wrangler 3.6L, 2007-2011 Jeep Wrangler 3.8L V6 ATRD1049

2) Radiator for Wrangler JK by AUTOSAVER88

  • Best Features:
    – Corrosion- and leak-free
    – The package includes a detailed user manual
    – 12-months/12K-miles warranty
  • Fits Models:
    – Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-2017)

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Best Replacement Radiator for Jeep JK Reviews

1. Mishimoto MMRAD-WRA-07V2 Aluminum Radiator

Mishimoto MMRAD-WRA-07V2 Aluminum Radiator Fits Jeep Wrangler JK 2007-2017 Silver

Jeep JK is quite a powerful and capable off-roading champ, but it won’t go far with the stock radiator. To stop worrying about overheating the engine and start enjoying the off-road, you’ll need a premium-quality aftermarket radiator. And Mishimoto has just the right offer. If you’re in the market for well-above-average coolant capacity, pressure tolerance, and material quality, you might find this WRA radiator to be worthy of your attention.

It went through numerous tests and was praised by the most prestigious evaluators. They praise the 13% boost in coolant capacity and 18% increase in core volume. The 100%-brazed aluminum core is even more reason to consider it. And the lifetime warranty will always have your back and you’ll be able to get a refund.

Product Rating
Durability
5/ 5
Mileage
5/ 5
Value for Money
4.7/ 5
Result
4.9
Pros & Cons
Premium-level aluminum core, 100% brazed
Superb strength/pressure tolerance (extruded tubes)
Excellent coolant capacity
Not very cheap (but well worth the price)

Recommendations
Andy Shane
Andy Shane
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It’s simple, really: with this radiator, you get what you pay for. Despite the somewhat “heavy” price, this is still a bargain, thanks to the superb material quality, durability, and effectiveness. Jeep drivers that put quality over everything else will probably like what this company has to offer.

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2. OSC Cooling Products 2957 New Radiator

OSC Cooling Products 2957 New Radiator

This is one of those “cheap and cheerful” products that can serve as an excellent replacement for stock gear. The 2957 radiator isn’t very expensive but is made of high-quality materials (Alcoa aluminum). Another standout “feature” is the cadmium-plated tubes. Premature failure is a very common flaw among radiators, but these tubes will make sure that doesn’t happen.

The package, in turn, includes all the necessary fittings and hardware for installation. The entire process won’t take more than 15 minutes even if you don’t have any experience with installing aftermarket parts. There’s a big issue, though, and it has to do with durability. Many owners complain that this radiator starts to leak after a year of service.

Product Rating
Durability
4.8/ 5
Mileage
4.9/ 5
Value for Money
5/ 5
Result
4.9
Pros & Cons
Made of premium-level Alcoa aluminum
Cadmium-plated tubes prevent premature failure
Includes hardware/fittings for installation
Durability issues: tends to leak after 1/1.5 years

Recommendations
Andy Shane
Andy Shane
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If not for the disappointing durability issues, this radiator could’ve been a safe bet for all the regular US drivers. It’s made of premium-quality Aluminum and is well-protected against premature failure. So, will the OSC Cooling Products radiator be a good purchase or not? It depends: if you put reliability and longevity first, then you should look elsewhere. But, as a cheap replacement, it could be a wise choice.

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3. Radiator for Wrangler JK by AUTOSAVER88

Radiator Compatible with 2012-2017 Jeep Wrangler 3.6L, 2007-2011 Jeep Wrangler 3.8L V6 ATRD1049

What does this company have to offer to grab your attention? Well, first of all, it backs all of its products with a 12K-miles or 12-months warranty. Secondly, with this radiator, you’ll get a user-friendly installation manual – it’s quite detailed and helpful. The bad news is – even with this guide, it might be hard to install the radiator on your own. That’s especially true for Jeep owners that usually let the mechanics handle everything.

On the other hand, if this isn’t your first aftermarket gear, you’ll do just fine. The radiator is protected against corrosion and doesn’t leak. Plus, it features multi-louvered fins that ensure decent cooling efficiency during the summer and durability during harsh winters. The AUTOSAVER engineers used a combination of aluminum and plastic to ensure reliability. The material quality is OK – nothing more, nothing less.

Product Rating
Durability
4.8/ 5
Mileage
4.8/ 5
Value for Money
5/ 5
Result
4.9
Pros & Cons
Well-protected against corrosion; doesn’t leak
Comes packed with a helpful installation guide
Backed by a one-year/12K-miles manufacturer’s warranty
Might be a bit tricky to install

Recommendations
Andy Shane
Andy Shane
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A decent pick – that’s the best way to describe this radiator. It offers a good balance of price and quality and is backed by a generous manufacturer’s warranty. The package includes installation hardware and a detailed guide that you’ll probably use a lot. Installation isn’t very straightforward, and that’s the biggest con.

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Best Radiator for Jeep Wrangler TJ and YJ (Updated October, 2020)

TJ is the 2nd-gen Wrangler, and it’s been around since 1997. Off-road fans like it for the strong performance, reliable, durable construction, and masculine looks. But, just like all the other Jeep models, it doesn’t have the most sophisticated/advanced engine compartment. For example, without a top-quality radiator, it will overheat even faster than the JK.

That’s why I scrolled through dozens of third-party radiators: to pick the ones that are capable of effectively cooling the engine. Take a close look at each one and make your pick!

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Editor’s Choice

CU2101 Radiator Replacement for Jeep Wrangler TJ 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 L6 L4 4.0L 2.5L 2.4L

1) CU2101 Radiator Replacement for Jeep Wrangler

  • Best Features:
    – Above-average cooling efficiency
    – Thermal-shocked gasket (withstands harsh winters)
    – 100% leak-free
  • Core Type: 1 Row
  • Fits Models:
    – Jeep Wrangler TJ (1997-2006)

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Aluminum Radiator For 1987-2006 Jeep Wrangler YJ TJ 2.4L/ 2.5L/ 4.0L/ 4.2L Full Aluminum Radiator (3 Row Core)

2) Aluminum Radiator by Tiziri

  • Best Features:
    – Brick-strong construction
    – Easy fit: no need for a mechanic
    – Lightweight, capacious core
  • Core Type: 3 Row
  • Fits Models:
    – Jeep Wrangler TJ (1997-2006)
    – Jeep Wrangler YJ (1987-1995)

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2 Row Core 60mm All Aluminum Racing Radiator Replacement For 1987-2006 Jeep Wrangler YJ/TJ

3) Aluminum Racing Radiator Replacement by Generic

  • Best Features:
    – Very easy to install
    – Efficient heat dissipation thanks to a large surface area
    – Durable, sturdy construction
  • Core Type: 2 Row
  • Fits Models:
    – Jeep Wrangler TJ (1997-2006)
    – Jeep Wrangler YJ (1987-1995)

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Best Radiator for Jeep Wrangler TJ and YJ Reviews

1. CU2101 Radiator Replacement for Jeep Wrangler

CU2101 Radiator Replacement for Jeep Wrangler TJ 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 L6 L4 4.0L 2.5L 2.4L

Jeep owners are mostly big fans of off-roading. And, as I already said, without proper heat dissipation, your engine might give up on you. This is equally true for the TJ and the YJ models. So, if you want to keep your steel horse from overheating, this radiator might be a good place to start. It is very well-equipped to handle hot summers and harsh winters. That’s achieved thanks to the thermal-shocked gasket.

On top of that, CU2101 is 100% leak-free, which is always a big pro. The bad news is – the package doesn’t include any installation hardware. That means you’ll have to buy a set of nuts and bolts at the local store. Furthermore, while the installation is straightforward, it might be a bit of a challenge for inexperienced folks. STAYCO officially recommends letting a professional handle everything.

Product Rating
Durability
4.9/ 5
Mileage
4.8/ 5
Value for Money
5/ 5
Result
4.9
Pros & Cons
Well-suited for driving in extreme weather conditions
Solid cooling efficiency for the price
Protected against leaks
Doesn’t include installation hardware; might be hard to install

Recommendations
Andy Shane
Andy Shane
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Ready to pay a mechanic to install this radiator for you? If the answer is yes, then you might find it to be a good investment. It’s well-suited for extreme weather conditions and is pretty good at cooling even the hottest engine. Protection against leaks is even more reason to put it on your list of must-haves.

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2. Aluminum Radiator by Tiziri for Jeep TJ

Radiator For 1987-2006 Jeep Wrangler YJ TJ 2.4L/ 2.5L/ 4.0L/ 4.2L Full Aluminum Radiator (3 Row Core)

Some radiators tend to shake and wiggle whenever you drive through bumps and climb up a hill. That’s not the case with this radiator. It boasts an all-aluminum design and has proven to be durable and effective both on and off the road. The core, in turn, is very lightweight but capacious at the same time. Last, but not least, shipping within the US is very fast (six days tops; usually, takes less than three).

As for the installation process, it’s not very complicated. Yet, the fan shroud holes aren’t an exact match (at least, they weren’t in my case). Therefore, you might have to do some drilling and cutting. If not for this little inconvenience, the Tiziri radiator would’ve been a top pick for me.

Product Rating
Durability
5/ 5
Mileage
5/ 5
Value for Money
4.6/ 5
Result
4.9
Pros & Cons
Sturdy, won’t start “jiggling” when driving through rough terrain
Comes with a lightweight, yet capacious core
Fast shipping in the United States
The fan shroud holes don’t always fit

Recommendations
Andy Shane
Andy Shane
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Sturdy, capacious, and lightweight – that’s this radiator in a nutshell for you. It was built to take a beating and features an all-aluminum design. Shipment in the US is fast, too. The sad part is – the fan shroud holes don’t match the TJ or YJ perfectly, which can be a problem for regular drivers trying to install the radiator on their own.

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3. Aluminum Racing Radiator Replacement by Generic

2 Row Core 60mm All Aluminum Racing Radiator Replacement For 1987-2006 Jeep Wrangler YJ/TJ

This two-row radiator is durable, reliable, and easy to install. Made of high-quality aluminum, it improves cooling by 35-45% temperature. This above-average heat dissipation efficiency is achieved through a larger-than-usual surface area. Generic designed, manufactured and tested this radiator in the United States.

The company also backed it with a 12-months warranty. But, it’s not all good news: some owners claim that the radiator starts to leak after a month or two. Mostly, it works flawlessly, but, quality control can still be an issue. If that happens to you, don’t hesitate to contact support and request a replacement.

Product Rating
Durability
4.9/ 5
Mileage
4.8/ 5
Value for Money
4.8/ 5
Result
4.8
Pros & Cons
Durable construction, efficient heat dissipation
Designed, made, and tested in the US
Backed by a one-year warranty
Tends to leak (even after a couple of months)

Recommendations
Andy Shane
Andy Shane
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The leakage problems are the only significant con. They were reported only by 5% of the drivers that bought and installed this radiator. So, you most likely won’t get a bad one. Still, keep this in mind. Other than that, Generic’s engineers made a sturdy, efficient, and high-capacity radiator.

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Buyer’s Guide

Now that we’ve discussed nine top-quality radiators for Jeep’s leading brands/models, let’s check my Buyer’s Guide. I made a list of the key aspects of a good radiator. As always, the price, ease of installation, and compatibility are very important. But, we’ll also talk about the material quality and efficiency.

The Price-Tag

When it comes to the price, it’s always a thin balance. Do you pay more for a high-quality product, or save some bucks on a low-budget alternative? In the case of engine radiators, the high price is usually dictated by the build quality and extra features. Drain plugs, TIG-wielded end tanks, and radiator caps all add to the price-tag. The number of radiators also plays a key role, of course.

So, what should a regular driver choose? I recommend checking the pros and cons of any accessory first before committing to it. There’s always a chance of a cheap radiator being more effective than the pricy one, but usually, you get what you pay for. According to experts, above-average products are always a safe bet.

Compatibility/Ease of Installation

Modern-day manufacturers strive to make installation as easy as possible. That means you won’t have to be a mechanic to replace the radiator in your Jeep. Make sure to always ask whether the package includes a user’s manual, as it will help you through every single step. Also, check for mounting hardware: for a regular driver, buying third-party bolts and nuts can be a drag.

On average, it takes 1.5-2 hours to install a radiator and to get it running. Sadly, in some cases, you’ll need to drill extra holes for the separate components in the engine compartment to line everything up. There may also be some bending and tweaking involved. If that’s the case, it would be better to let a professional handle it.

Material Quality

Most modern-day radiators are made of aluminum – it’s a highly effective material for this task. Brazed aluminum, for example, ensures minimal distortion and keeps all the joins nice and clean. The stock Jeep radiators are made of plastic, by the way. The tank can still be plastic, but the core should be aluminum.

Heat Dissipation Efficiency

In many ways, this is the most important factor when shopping for a third-party radiator. That’s because the more effective it is at cooling the engine compartment, the longer it (the engine) will serve you. As mentioned, there are some three-radiator options on the market. Other brands achieve efficiency via a larger surface area. Coolant capacity also plays a key role in heat dissipation.

Conclusion

That’s it for our review of the best radiators for the legendary Jeeps. As we learned today, you can’t just blindly go ahead and purchase a radiator that says “Jeep compatible” – it has to fit your exact model. Overall, I checked out nine radiators, and they are worth your attention (and your hard-earned dollars). Of course, they all have their minor cons along with major pros, and you should check them again to make an educated decision.

Read Also: Best Coolant for Jeep Wrangler Review

The Buyer’s Guide, in turn, will tell you all there is to know about the key factors of any top-quality radiator. You don’t want to be stranded in the middle of a muddy road with an overheated engine because of a low-quality radiator. First of all, it will be a pain to get back home. Secondly, the repairs might cost you a lot! The good news is – with the radiators from today’s list, you’ll be in good hands!

About the author

Andy Shane

Andy Shane

My name is Andy Shane, and I like to spend my free time conquering the most difficult off-road tracks. Off-road vehicles fascinate me more than any other vehicles types. Surely, there are not so many people who would share the passion for getting out of all possible muds and wilderness in their Jeeps, but those who do will find lots of interesting information in my blog.

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